Last issue of The Wrapper came last week and yet another great issue. For those of you who don’t know what The Wrapper is, here’s some history to catch-up.
The Wrapper is the oldest Non-sport magazine in the United States. It focuses on pre 1970 trading cards (even doe newer cards and info can be found). Every issue has from 4 to 6 well written and interesting articles and a lot of ads from dealers and traders from all around the country and beyond (I’ve seen ads from people from Australia!).
New issues are release every six weeks (a total of 8 per year) and mailed to subscribers. The magazine started in 1978 and was originally intended for a local distribution but spread as the hunger of collectors for means of communication and trade increased. The name obviously comes from the wax wrappers where cards come.
On this particular issue there were some interesting articles. One of them entitled “Addams Family” was centered on that popular set from 1964 (Donruss Company) that was reissued in 1996 by Dart. Another article, Another Tough Bread Issue,
was centered on Wild Bill Hickok cards from bread and other food products from the 50’s. My favorite one was an article written by David Hornish about Topps Early History. Overall, it’s an awesome issue with great articles and lots of good ads.
As a closure I will like to thank Editor Les Davis it’s a hard-working man and a devoted collector and father. His effort has been medullar for the continuity of the Non-sport cards collecting hobby; a work for which his subscribers and fellow collectors are very grateful.
I still remember the rush back in the car with my mom driving me to the drugstore to buy some cards. She always was fond and supportive with my interests. She didn’t mind the bloody monsters in the illustrations; she just loved seeing my face before and after getting those packs. I opened them with anxiety and thrill.
Good memories are attached to trading cards. And at the end of the road, those memories, the nostalgia, the idea of reviving a time past, it’s part of what makes collecting trading cards so great. Differently to other collecting hobbyist who mostly starts at an older age (like cars, bonsais or DVDs), most trading card collectors started their collection at a young age.
For me, those times were the 90’s. Times were different back then (or back-back then in the 60’s and even before that). In those days computers were a gigantic thing that wanted to take over the world on a sci-fi movie; or a legendary monotonous thing only accessible to rich kids. Comics and trading card had a great era. Collecting was an awesome way of past time and share with friends while building and awesome set.
We didn’t care about bills or money; we didn’t know who were running for governor or what the weather forecast was. We just cared about that one card; that last one or rare card. Dup’s were trade or gave away: new friends were a single away. How sad how greed took it down.
We collect for many reasons: the hunt, the bragging; the fun reading, organizing and admiring the art; the community of collectors. But no more beautiful reason than grasping a piece of memory between our fingers; and remember; and cry from joy.
A couple promos I ordered came in the mail today. Heavy breathing and sweating overcame me when I realize that the seller shipped them in a cheap manila envelope. What a lousy job to protect those valuable promos. This is what happens when one orders from amateur sellers. I don’t want to sound elitist but when your selling a product through Ebay, as a seller, your also selling the future deals you’ll make. I ordered packages on a regular basis; mostly envelopes. Sometimes, I have to fight with the wrapping because of all the protection some sellers use on their merchandise. But man, this guy used a hot pocket box as support. Then on the corners of the envelope, in almost undistinguishable letters was written “Do not bend”; needleless to say that they got bent. I’ve learn from this one. Next time Ill go with one of my regulars and forget about the pity savings
So, after doing the long trips every two months to Borders, struggle between magazines and bothering a couple employs to get me the very last issue, I finally got a subscription to Non-Sport Update. I got to say that its been great. Every two months its right there in the mail; no lines, no gas expenses, no needless wait. 🙂
This month came the last one. I have to say that issues keep getting thinner. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t mind less advertising and more articles. But those advertisers are an important part of the magazine since they contribute a huge chunk of the budget -which, in this economy, is really need. The issue has even been address by the editors that have talk about the problem in the last two editorial columns. It’s a sad thing seen this hobby threat by the downs of the economy and the greed of some dealers.
The issue had some interesting articles revolving around the new premium card packs. There were counter point opinions which I thought was a genius move because it gives you the opportunity of making up your own mind and see it from all the angles. Another awesome article was a flashback look to the Garbage Pall Kids collection. I remember buying some of those of the Ice Cream wagon that pass by my elementary school -my mom hated this cards!.
The Promos that came with the issue were awesome: a Yoda Card from Topp’s the Star Wars Galaxy 6 set; the other one was from Rittenhouse’s Dangerous Divas. Both cards were awesome and I just cant wait for the Star Wars ser to arrive. I got to have at least one box of them.
Back in 1995 the Pepsi Corporation thought of another way of making kids addicted (beside the sugar and caffeine that is). The idea was similar to the one implemented by Gum companies back in the 1930`s: add some cool cards with the buy of the product for kids to collect. In the case of Pepsi, the gimmick was to give a pack of cards to kids in exchange of a couple of empty cans plus fifty cents. It’s not a surprise that this strategy worked, making it one of the biggest and successful promotional campaigns ever.
I remember being 12 and going around the block collecting empty cans. My closest competitor was my best friend, who was into them too. Now, thinking back, I can see that we did plenty of good for our planet ( LOL ). After gathering enough cans, we used to go the mall`s Burger King with a couple of dollars and, bang, we had a lot of fun for the afternoon.
The set is basically a reprint of the 1994 Flair Marvel (Inaugural Edition) American set. There are some differences in both sets. Flair`s cards are thicker (ergo a little heavier), glossier and with the Flair logo on a corner written in a golden finish. The caption at the foot of the card is also in gold. The back of the cards are totally different. The Flair set is in English in difference to the Pepsi edition which is in Spanish. It also has different art on their backs as well as logos.
The Pepsi set consisted of a base set of a 100 cards with 9 prism chase cards. The cards have the great art of the original Flair set. The quality of the images is outstanding. The colors are sharp and brilliant. It also has the story and mythologies of the different characters in the Marvel Universe. Back then there wasn’t a computer in every house. Most of had access to the internet in school at most. So it was kind of difficult to keep track with the ever-expanding Marvel universe and its spinning and turning storylines. To that problem, those summaries on the back of the cards were great and accurate.
The chase cards weren’t that hard to find but I can say pretty confidently that there were some more scarce than others. The Spiderman and Cyclopes cards were the rarest followed by the iron man one. The other ones were relatively easy. All of the chase cards were prism with black backs featuring a close up of the character in the middle and no text. Ironically in this set the common ones seems harder to find. Some of them were pretty scarce and hard to find. In my experience the “hardest cards to find are number 2 (El Increible Hulk), 18 (Dr. Doom) 32 (“El juicio del Sr Fantastico), 41 (Nightcrawler), 45 (Venom), and 93 (Bishop).
Those set are really coveted by Latin non-sport collectors all over America. If you enter different bidding sites, these babies can go as high as 500 dollars for a master set. Its popularity goes beyond the set itself (after all, they’re a lot of sets with better quality than this). This set is so great because of the memories attach to it. The hours and hours of can gathering, wrapper opening, and card sorting. The great childhood days of running, eating, sleeping, collecting and swapping.
Fantasy is the number one thing my collection is made of. I’m fascinated by it; the giant trees, the orks, the sexy girl with the long legs. Everything is eye filling. It’s a unique way of fly to far lands and fulfill hidden dreams in the subconscious, just a page turn away. From the vast and gigantic offer of incredibly talented artist immortalize in trading cards, at the top three of my head is Chris Achilleos.
Chris Achilleos has created some of the most eye gauging and detail artwork in his thirty years of work. He has become one of the most influential and popular artist of the genre. His works includes many hundreds of book cover illustrations and collaboration as consultant for conceptual artists in Hollywood movies.
The first series set was issued by FPG in 1992 and in it the female form play a major role. In some of the illustrations it plays almost in the erotic which makes the set more for an adult crowd. FPG used to produce most of the Fantasy artwork back in the 90’s during what I consider one of the “good ages” in the non-sport world. This was one of the sets first produce by the company. The cards consisted of a base set of90. The back of each card has pencil drawing illustration and a comment from Chris. Originally there were insert redemption cards one for a painting and 20 others for sketches. There were also parallel sets of silver and gold foil stamp cards randomly inserted (1:12). There also were 250 signed cards from the base set randomly inserted. Special collectible binder was made and it came with a binder card.
The second series was called Angels and Amazons also produced by FPG in 1994. On this series Ahilleos focused more on fantasy with a bit of science fiction. In the first series Achilleos showed his dominion on the female form. Now, the ambience glow in all its splendor. Again there’s a pencil drawing in the back with a brief comment by the artist. A binder was also produce for this series with a special insert card as well.
This has been one of my favorites release from FPG. I’m still working on it since its been difficult finding the parallel set both silver and gold. I’ve seen the complete set of both on Ebay but they go for a high price, plus its more fun building it one card at a time which stretches the hunt that is, in my opinion, the best part of collecting. What has been harder to find is the signed (and numbered) card and also the binder for the first series; haven’t seen neither on Ebay or at any convention or shop. But again, that’s part of the fun!
Summers here and with them one of those great events: garage sales. I love them. I just love them. You can find anything! A couple of records here, an old doll there and when you least expect it, “boom” a box of cards. Sometimes there just there in your face other times they`re under some old and dusty things and they’re like a Christmas present just waiting under the tree.
Sadly I haven’t been that lucky. Last week I went to a couple of sales. Nothing yet has come up. But I’m staying optimistic. Besides, garage sales are not limited to houses. Now they’re also in the virtual world. Yes, internet it’s a great source for finding people selling stuff. You might drive down to their house or get it sent via email. On the other hand, some of the usual stores now have more inventory due to some spring cleaning. Also, hurricane season just started and everyone is doing some re arrangement to save their things from any flash floods.
Just the other day I had a great booth. There’s a couple of antique store that I frequent for they have constant contact with seller of all sorts. They also buy lots of great stuff for cheap prices which they later sell without inflating the costs. Most antique dealers here are honest humble people asking just what’s fair. One of these dealers, Mr. Villegas happens to have a great lot for me. It was a big box of cards (over a 1000) and 3 more, long, narrow white boxes. Most of the cards were sport ones, which kind of brought me down. But then I found 2 boxes fill with non sports from the 90`s: some Coca Cola series and a lot of Marvel Pepsi Cards (to which I will later devote an article of its own later. 30 bucks later my sidekick and I (my baby brother) where carrying the whole thing back to the car.
I hope this to be the first of a serial of great findings this summer. I`ll already talked to Villegas about another lot of cards he has somewhere in his house. Let see if he finds it… LOL